Dan Greenspan

Jake Thompson's latest audition goes all wrong in Phillies' loss to Angels

Jake Thompson's latest audition goes all wrong in Phillies' loss to Angels

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — There is a replica Hollywood down the street at Disneyland, but Phillies pitcher Jake Thompson went through a very real tinsel town audition Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.

If manager Pete Mackanin was the casting director, Thompson probably wouldn’t be getting a callback after a 7-0 thrashing against the Los Angeles Angels (see Instant Replay).

Mike Trout, C.J. Cron and Kaleb Cowart each pelted Thompson with third-inning home runs as the Angels did all their damage at once. Cron and Cowart went back to back, as Thompson set a new career high for homers allowed in a game. The other seven innings of clean baseball by Thompson, Adam Morgan and Jesen Therrien were rendered moot.    

“Well, there’s not a whole lot you can say,” Mackanin said when asked how he would address the 23-year-old right-hander. “I would just as soon not talk to him until tomorrow. Just let him cool off, let him think about it, and then we’ll discuss it tomorrow.” 

Thompson and Mackanin both agreed that control issues were the cause of the disastrous third. Thompson grimly recognized that he served up a “fastball that Trout hits out nine times out of 10 in that count,” he said. Of the 33 pitches Thompson threw in the inning, 19 were strikes. 

Unfortunately, too many of them were right down the middle.   

“It’s all about command of your stuff,” Mackanin said. “I’ve said it so many times, but a pitcher’s best pitch is command. And he didn’t have good command today. He left a lot of balls right out in the middle of the plate. When you do that, you are going to get burned.”

Said Thompson: “I have to be able to stop the bleeding sometimes, and I couldn’t do it tonight.”

Mackanin was asked whether Thompson would get another start or be sent back down to the minors. Mackanin would not commit either way.

“We’ll talk about that,” Mackanin said. “I’m not sure. See what we got.”

It is the time of the season for Mackanin and the Phillies to figure out which players in the organization can and cannot contribute. It’s a process the bullpen is going through, as evidenced by the three solid scoreless innings of relief Morgan and Therrien provided. 

Bringing right-hander Edubray Ramos back up from Triple A is another hint at what is going on. 

Ramos wasn’t used against the Angels, but should be ticketed for plenty of late-inning work, Mackanin said.     

At the end of his prior stint in the majors this season, Ramos’ poor attitude contributed to his poor performance. The 24-year-old gave up nine earned runs in five appearances at the end of June, but Ramos believes he is ready to show what he can do after a 10-game stint at Lehigh Valley.

“The No. 1 thing was to change my attitude,” Ramos said through a translator. “I think that in the last week I was here in the big leagues, I didn’t have a good attitude. Things weren’t working for me and my attitude wasn’t helping. In Triple A, I worked on that. I also worked on my pitches and stuff.”

Ramos has a chance to show he can and should be on the roster in 2018. It is the same opportunity Thompson hopes to get, whether it is five days from now or later.

Auditions are here. The Phillies are essentially bringing a little piece of Hollywood with them in each of the final 57 games.

Instant Replay: Angels 7, Phillies 0

Instant Replay: Angels 7, Phillies 0

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jake Thompson was tagged for all seven runs in the third inning, and the Phillies dropped their 11th straight game to the Los Angeles Angels in a 7-0 loss on Wednesday.

It is now tied for the longest losing streak against an opponent in the history of interleague play, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Washington Nationals defeated the Seattle Mariners 11 times in a row from 2005-2014, while the Oakland A’s racked up 11 consecutive wins over the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2002-2013.    

Thompson had never given up more than two home runs in a major-league game, but the Angels hit three in one inning, starting with a two-run shot to dead center by Mike Trout. 

C.J. Cron then added a two-run homer to left, and Kaleb Cowart made it back-to-back blasts. The bullpen was already up and stretching when Martin Maldonado doubled for the second time in the same inning, but the initial trajectory had Angel Stadium expecting a third home run in a row.

While the Angels (53-55) were hitting balls deep, the Phillies were barely able to put balls in play in their seventh shutout of the season. 

The Phillies (39-66) are now 1-6 all-time in Orange County. After winning the first-ever meeting against the Angels, 3-0, on June 9, 2003, the Phillies have been outscored 62-21.

Starting pitching report
Thompson (1-1, 4.20) was no match for the sensational Trout and Hall of Fame-bound Albert Pujols, but it was the back end of the Angels’ lineup that really rattled the 23-year-old. Cron, Cowart and Maldonado were slotted sixth, seventh and eighth in the order, and went 5 for 7 with four extra-base hits and three RBIs before Thompson took a seat.

Thompson was officially charged with only two earned runs on nine hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked one.   

Outside of a bit of trouble in the eighth inning when the Phillies got two runners on, JC Ramirez (10-9, 4.03) cruised to the win. 

Ramirez went a career-high eight innings, giving up six hits while striking out three and walking two.

Bullpen report
Adam Morgan got to handle two innings of long relief and was more than solid, although the game was no longer in doubt. He did not give up a hit or walk, had one strikeout, and 17 of his 26 pitches went for strikes.   

Jesen Therrien then provided an unblemished eighth. 

At the plate
Odubel Herrera extended his hitting streak to six games with a single in the sixth inning.

Cesar Hernandez keeps getting on base and it keeps happening early. Hernandez led off with a walk, reaching base for the 14th time in 15 games since coming off the disabled list. And in three of his last four appearances, Hernandez did so in the first inning, including both games against the Angels. 

Daniel Nava went 1 for 3 in his first action after being activated off the 10-day DL.   

In the field
Hernandez booted a groundball in the disastrous third. Maldonado would have been able to score from third regardless, but giving Thompson a second out and nobody on against Trout instead of one on and one out might have made a difference in how he approached the best all-around player in the game. 

Cameron Rupp made a throwing error in the first.

The Phillies have committed three errors in two games against the Angels, the same number they had during their five-game winning streak coming into the series.  

Up next
Jerad Eickhoff (2-7, 4.56) is still looking for his first road win since Sept. 5, 2016. Eickhoff was effective in July, recording a 2.86 ERA as the Phillies won three of his four starts. But the Angels are 8-1 this season when right-hander Parker Bridwell (5-1, 2.83) takes the mound.

Phillies start to really find out about young relievers as win streak ends

Phillies start to really find out about young relievers as win streak ends

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Drew Anderson was called up from Double A Reading on Tuesday. He’s headed back there Wednesday, manager Pete Mackanin said after the Phillies’ 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, with a corresponding roster move set to be announced (see Instant Replay)

In between those two cross-country flights, the 23-year-old made his major-league debut. He got to pitch against two-time American League MVP Mike Trout. And with his mom, dad and girlfriend in the crowd at Angel Stadium, Anderson struck out the best player in the game.

“It was a rush,” Anderson said, a mixture of awe and giddiness still evident on his face. “It was fun. I’m glad I got in, got an inning and struck out Mike Trout.”

After the Phillies traded Joaquin Benoit on Monday — a transaction Mackanin found out about in the fifth inning of the 7-6 win over the Atlanta Braves — and with Luis Garcia and closer Hector Neris not available after pitching against the Braves, Anderson became the stopgap option to fill out the roster for a night. 

In the eighth inning, Anderson got his chance to play. He gave up one earned run, while another was scored as unearned because of a throwing error. 

When Trout came up to bat, Anderson threw the first pitch over his head. 

“It was like, ‘Oh, boy. Here we go,’” Anderson said. 

But then he got after the perennial All-Star. Trout struck out on a foul tip, and Anderson had the story of all stories to share, whether it is in the Fightin Phils’ locker room later this week or at home 20 years from now. 

For the Phillies, the story in the bullpen now is about figuring out who can contribute. Mackanin knew what relievers Benoit and Pat Neshek, also dealt in the last week, could provide as the bridge from a starting pitcher to Neris. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough chances this season for the veterans to protect a lead.

After the Phillies traded the two proven arms, Mackanin wants to see if any of the youngsters on his roster can show signs of that same consistency. Garcia is set to handle the eighth inning for the moment, Neris has converted 10 of 13 save opportunities, but everything else is to be determined 

The time is right to see what 24-year-old Jesen Therrien, 26-year-old Mark Leiter Jr., 26-year-old Hoby Milner or 27-year-old Adam Morgan can provide, Mackanin said.  

“I don’t think we’re going to win the pennant. You never know, but I've got to find out if they can be a piece,” Mackanin said before the game. 

Leiter handled the seventh inning against the Angels. He was promptly taught a harsh lesson by Albert Pujols, who crushed his 608th career home run to put the game out of reach. 

Aaron Nola had pitched a solid game before that, giving up a two-out, two-run double to Pujols in the fifth that erased an early 1-0 lead for the Phillies on a Tommy Joseph RBI. But the offense finally cooled off after five straight wins. Add in a couple of mistakes to an all-time great, the streak was over.    

“I wish that (Angels manager Mike) Scioscia gave Pujols the night off because he did some damage,” Mackanin said. “Nola pitched very well, did a good job, continued to pitch well. We stranded too many baserunners, couldn’t get any offense going after winning those five in a row. We kind of just didn’t swing the bats that well.”

Still, the Phillies had one moment worth remembering in Anderson’s one strikeout. 

“You know what, the runs that scored aside, he struck out one of the best, if not arguably the best player in baseball,” Mackanin said. “I was thrilled that he did that, just for him. He had a smile on his face.”

Said Anderson: “It was a good experience. Can’t wait to do it again.”